Back when I was first getting my feet wet in those early college days of exploring craft beer, I remember attending my first ever major sampling/tasting event…The Great International Beer Festival (held at the Providence Convention Center). At the time, this was the major craft beer event in the little state of Rhode Island. As the years have passed, new festivals have been popping up across the state, offering craft beer enthusiasts and novices alike the opportunity to sample the ever growing selection of local craft brews as well as recognized national brands. One such local festival, in only its fourth year I might add, has made a name for itself and seems to only get bigger and better each year and is known as the RI Winter Brewfest.
The festival itself, held at the Pawtucket Armory, brings together all of the state’s breweries, as well as a solid mix of microbreweries from the East Coast to the West Coast. With two sessions being offered (each being sold out year after year), it is easy to see how popular this event has become, with the obvious focal point being the wide array and amazing variety of different beers to sample and enjoy. From a more local perspective, what I really love about the RI Brewfest is that it gives attendees the chance to meet the brewers behind the brands. It is an opportunity to interact with the people responsible for that fresh pint at the local bar, that 4 pack or 6 pack you grab at the liquor store, or that growler you go get filled up for the weekend or get together with family and friends. It brings an even greater sense of appreciation for beers being brewed right here in our state.
Of course such a great day of sampling and discussing beer would not be possible if not for such a creative, passionate, hard working group of people. Matthew Gray, President of Gray Matter Marketing, and the team behind the RI Brewfest do a fantastic job of not only promoting the festival but also setting it up and organizing it in such a way that attendees are able to make the most out of their afternoon or evening full of craft beer enjoyment. Also, add on to the fact that the festival actually pays the breweries for the beers they supply and with each ticket sold, a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Rhode Island Brewers Guild…another win-win situation, especially for the RI craft beer scene. It is a festival like this that really brings together a community of beer enthusiasts while also doing a great job of showcasing and supporting local breweries and providing a diverse selection of other brands for everyone’s overall enjoyment. RI Brewfest might still be in its “early years” as a festival but that doesn’t seem to be slowing it down from gaining more and more interest each year. Be sure to check out their website: www.ribrewfest.com for information about the festival, and interviews with some of the local brewers and also follow them on Twitter (@RIBrewFest) for even more content, insight and updates.
Thank you and cheers to RI Brewfest for another successful and enjoyable festival. I’m already looking forward to the next one. On behalf of Prost Providence, I raise my glass and Prost RI Brewfest!